Characters make or break television series. Well-written characters can be life-changing – people model their wardrobes, yearbook quotes, and even big life decisions after them. When characters are presented as layered and nuanced, they allow audiences to connect with them on a deep and personal level. And while most audience members find these connections with the main characters of the television series they love, that isn’t always the case.
Sometimes supporting characters stand out among an ensemble and prove to be fan favorites. So here are 12 TV Characters Who Deserve Their Own Shows.
12. Troy Barnes and Abed Nadir (Community)
Troy Barnes (Donald Glover) and Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) had one of the great modern bromances on the sitcom Community. While the series (most likely) ended in 2015, their friendship still remains one of the best things about the comedy. Troy’s general aloofness was always played for laughs, while Abed’s awkward reactions often added to the humor.
They created raps together, imaged entire worlds, and managed to sing “Somewhere Out There” to their lab mouse in order to get it to return to them. Both characters were obsessed with pop culture and technically had their own “show” within Community. Still, if anyone from the series deserves to have a full-fledged spin-off, it is them!
11. Rogelio de La Vega (Jane the Virgin)
When Jane the Virgin premiered, it was clear that Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) would be an incredible and likable character. But the most unexpected and pleasant surprise of The CW’s hit comedy was Rogelio de la Vega (Jaime Camil). Rogelio is a telenovela star and Jane’s father.
Dramatic and hilarious, Rogelio has provided some of the show’s funniest moments during its run, allowing the character to shine in unexpected places – like Rogelio’s bromance with Michael (Brett Dier). Occasionally vein and self-absorbed, it is Rogelio’s good heart and love for his family – as well as his social media presence – that would make him a hit if he had his own show.
What type of show would it be? Rogelio had his own telenovela for a while, so it’s clear he would excel in starring in one again. Perhaps a musical telenovela would be the type of show Rogelio would enjoy.
10. Schmidt (New Girl)
New Girl juggles a few characters within its ensemble, but none as dynamic and occasionally eccentric as Schmidt (Max Greenfield). This marketing executive could have easily been the “straight man” in a loft full of wildly quirky individuals, but instead the show allowed Schmidt’s own quirks to shine. He’s a man obsessed with grooming and organization (he hates bathtubs and has driving moccasins), and who used to be extremely self-centered.
There are still shades of that character occasionally, but it’s Max Greenfield’s endearing portrayal of him that has made Schmidt a fan favorite. A show that centered around him would certainly be full of hilarious shenanigans and probably a lot of product placement.
9. Cisco Ramon (The Flash)
Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) is arguably one of the best and most consistently hilarious characters on The Flash. In spite of the fact that Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is lauded as the show’s hero, this CW hit series wouldn’t be as beloved as it is without Cisco’s quips, one-liners, and creative naming of metahumans.
He is the glue that holds a lot of S.T.A.R. Labs and the team together. Not only does he have some of the best lines of the show, but Cisco, as a character, has a lot of heart too. Scenes where he has the opportunity to be emotional are some of the most surprisingly profound of The Flash. Cisco Ramon could have his own show and you can bet that households would tune in to watch.
8. Donna Paulsen (Suits)
For as long as Suits has been on the air, audiences have been in love with the sassy, intelligent redhead Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty). Introduced on the show as Harvey Specter’s (Gabriel Macht) secretary, Donna has evolved to become so much more than just the woman who manages his schedule. The firm depends on Donna – she provides not only emotional support to all of the lawyers, but also has saved them numerous times with her quick-thinking.
She’s the “fax whisperer,” the person who always knows everything that is going on around her, and the epitome of a strong female character. Donna loves and she laughs and she doesn’t allow herself to be defined by her relationship or her job title. If any character on Suits deserves their own spin-off, it would be her.
7. Poussey Washington (Orange is the New Black)
Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) has always been one of the stand-out characters on Orange is the New Black, a show known for its massive ensemble and ever-changing focus. There’s a lot going on within the walls of Litchfield Prison, but Poussey became an audience favorite thanks to her bright, infectious smile, willingness to wear her emotions on her sleeve, and Wiley’s earnest portrayal. And we got more of her backstory in season 2: she’s an army brat who spent part of her adolescence in Germany, and her first love was abruptly pulled away from her when her girlfriend’s father discovered their relationship.
Poussey comes from a more structured and academic background than many of her fellow inmates, and that’s where her spinoff series should be set – watching her move around the world, adjusting to each new culture, and making a home for herself.
6. Titus Andromedon (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
In 2015, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stole hearts when it debuted on Netflix. From the mind of Tina Fey, this colorful and optimistic comedy introduced audiences to the adventures of Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), a young woman recently freed from years spent underground as a part of a cult. As Kimmy re-acclimates to society, she meets (and soon lives with) Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess).
Titus is one of the most exuberant, lively, and fun characters to exist on television. He doesn’t let what other people think of him define who he is, and learns – in his friendship with Kimmy – to be freer and have more fun. He is creative, a good and supportive friend, and absolutely hilarious (if you need proof, just Google “Peeno Noir”).
5. Red/Ruby (Once Upon A Time)
Once Upon A Time introduced Red Riding Hood (Meghan Ory) in the most unexpected way – by having Red be a werewolf. In the Enchanted Forest, Red is a gentle young woman, who cares about the people she loves so much that she is willing to go to extreme lengths to protect them. She feels pain when she breaks her promises, and she feels that pain deeply.
In Storybrooke, Red’s alter ego “Ruby” is a bit of a wild child. Ruby has a dark, more cynical sense of humor and enjoys dressing provocatively and breaking rules. But she is no less strong in the “real world” as she is in the realm of fairytales. Both Ruby and Red are incredible characters – broken and vulnerable, but strong because they never give up on the people they love.
4. Andy Dwyer (Parks and Recreation)
Technically, Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) had his own show within the universe of Parks and Recreation as his alter ego “Johnny Karate.” It’s a children’s show and it highlights Andy’s delightfully simple and energetic nature. Out of all of the characters on Parks and Recreation, Andy is one who changed the most, and yet also the least, throughout the series. He grew up, from a lazy man to a compassionate husband and father.
While Andy learned to change and become more goal-oriented and driven, he always retained the joy that made him such an integral part of the Parks department. It is his steadfast love for April (Aubrey Plaza) and ride-or-die friendship with Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) that allowed him to develop the most throughout the years. Andy Dwyer’s energy was infectious and though he wasn’t always the most conventionally intelligent person in the room, he was always the most sincere.
3. Jen Short (Life in Pieces)
Life in Pieces is an intriguing concept for a comedy series, as its episodes are separated into four distinct, storylines, making the episodes have a vignette feeling to them. One of the standout characters in the show, however, is that of Jen Short (Zoe Lister-Jones), a new mother and wife of Greg (Colin Hanks). Jen’s dripping sarcasm and wit, as well as impeccable comedic timing constantly allow her to shine in the family.
Zoe Lister-Jones has an incredible knack for delivering lines with such blasé humor that it’s impossible not to immediately feel drawn to her character. Jen’s quirks are played for laughs as well (especially her attention to organization and detail), but she is a genuinely good and loving character. Any member of the family could easily have their own show (and they sort of do, given the structure of Life in Pieces), but Jen rises above the rest as the one most deserving of a spin-off.
2. Malcolm Ducasse (Jessica Jones)
Marvel’s Jessica Jones was met with stunning reviews from critics and fans alike, and the show was praised for its realistic depiction of abusive relationships. Krysten Ritter’s Jessica is a dark, tragic, and unconventional superhero, in the best way possible. And though Jessica’s relationship with Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is foundational to the series’ drama, Jessica’s neighbor Malcolm (Eka Darville) is just as important. Introduced as a drug addict in the early episodes, it is later revealed that Malcolm plays a larger role in the fabric of Jessica’s life than even she realized.
Throughout the relationship, Jessica learns to trust Malcolm and the audience discovers that he is a broken and layered character. Malcolm cares deeply about others, especially Jessica, and values loyalty and honesty above most things in life. He’s an atypical hero and he chooses to be one, not for the sake of others, but for the sake of himself. He’s a bit of a wild card, since the audience is still learning who he is by the end of the season. But there is no doubt that Malcolm’s humanity and steadfast companionship are two of the most important aspects of Jessica Jones – both the show and the character.
1. Cat Grant (Supergirl)
It would have been easy for Supergirl to create a stereotype out of Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), Kara Danvers’ (Melissa Benoist) boss and the head of CatCo Worldwide Media. But rather than make Cat a one-dimensional character or a stereotype (how often have we seen the overwrought cliché of “mean female boss who is concerned with demeaning others to boost her ego”?), the writers have instead allowed her the chance to be vulnerable with Supergirl and Kara.
Cat Grant is a woman who has her flaws and faults – she is often very brash and uncaring of others, dismissing them or treating them unkindly. But Supergirl is quick to remind its audience that just because Cat is often cold or shrewd doesn’t mean she is unfeeling or heartless. Cat has pain just like everyone else, and her struggles are not presented as somehow inconsequential because she makes mistakes or can’t remember her assistant’s name. Characters empathize with Cat Grant because in spite of the fact that she is not always nice, she is always honest. And that is important.
What kind of show would it be? A talk show.
What other TV characters should get their own slot in prime time? Let us know in the comments!